Gavin Schmidt has done a wonderful job at RealClimate patiently explaining the context of the stolen emails. He’s made it perfectly clear that the claims of scientific malpractice are without foundation. He must be doing a really good job, because the Competitive Enterprise Institute intends to sue him.

[CEI seeks documents] relating to the content, importance, or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files and expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.

This, and the related political activism engaged in, are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time. These documents were requested in January 2007 and NASA/GISS have refused to date to comply with their legal obligation to produce responsive documents.

Yes they’re planning to sue Schmidt for the “inappropriate behavior” of moderating comments at RealClimate. Of course, the point of this vexatious suit isn’t to win — it’s to harass and distract Schmidt because he is being effective.

It’s not for nothing that I dubbed them the Completely Evil Institute.

Comments

  1. #1 WotWot
    November 25, 2009

    This is going to be fun. It could seriously backfire on them.

    Anybody remember [the ID case a while back](http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1142625,00.html)?

  2. #2 John McKay
    November 25, 2009

    If I promise to block their comments will they sue me too?

  3. #3 Donald Oats
    November 25, 2009

    This is why open sourcing scientist data doesn’t work. They just keep going and going and going until they find what they want – a chink in the armour that they can exploit in the political fight. Gavin already has data + code online for the public to download, so they can’t FOI him on that basis. So they try a gag-suit. Pissants. Lower than a snake’s belly.

  4. #4 Zarquon
    November 25, 2009

    I doubt it will go anywhere, CEI don’t have any standing.

  5. #5 JennieL
    November 25, 2009

    It’s always been obvious that the denialati are pests. But until the last few days, I hadn’t realised the extent of their harrassment of climatologists. This, plus the email theft, is just … revolting, really.

    Huge kudos to Gavin Schmidt and crew, for maintaining so much professionalism through it all. I don’t think I could put up with this sort of malicious interference when just trying to do my damn job.

    Honestly, the psychology behind this kind of behaviour really puzzles me. Granted that these are highly unpleasant people; wtf is wrong with them that they have to act like this?

  6. #6 Marco
    November 25, 2009

    Zarquon: it’s not about going anywhere, it is exactly as Tim describes it: harassment. Keep the scientists from doing science. Create doubt (“Weren’t you sued once?”). Make the other side look like saints (“no censorship”).

    I would not be surprised if some really good scientists decide that climate science is not their field of interest. Who wants most of their time being spend on this type of cr*p? I already complain about all my teaching and administrative tasks (mind you, that’s well over 50% of my time). If I’d have to add “deal with political attacks that are aimed at destroying my credibility”, my time spent on science would be almost 0%. Then what’s the use of being a scientist?
    I also wonder what drugs (as in medicine) Gavin Schmidt has been taking. It was a superhuman effort he just put in at RealClimate in dealing with so many ill-informed comments in such a distinguished way. Eric Steig blew some steam off a lot faster! (but rightfully so)

  7. #7 Janet Akerman
    November 25, 2009

    Dam those pesky scientist, explaining stuff and getting in the way of our smear campaign.

    Only the rich your be able to respond!

    This is quite consistent with the rest of [their campaign](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/on_those_stolen_cru_emails.php#comment-2096080).

    And [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/on_those_stolen_cru_emails.php#comment-2096143)

  8. #8 Douglas Watts
    November 25, 2009

    Tim is right. This is just plain harassment. In a FOIA request, you ask for documents. That’s it. You don’t “accuse” anyone of anything.

    I will give CEI credit, though. These tactics will cause some scientists to scurry away into the cubbyholes and disappear. This is their goal and objective.

    If you are being harassed, it means you’re doing important work.

    They want you to give up and run away like scared cowards.

  9. #9 Jeremy C
    November 25, 2009

    I think Marco’s post says it all.

    Unfortunately these are smart and dedicated, nay fanatical people. This sort of tactic has worked before so I guess they are going on that basis.

    I look forward to the detailed report in the Australian on how the CEI is harrassing people. Perhaps we could ask Nick Minchin on what he thinks of this sort of harrassment.

    Its odd that all this is happening just before Copenhagen. Its almost as if these guys think Copenhagen is going to change things.

    There might be some good out of this and the CRU hack. Watching from the side lines I have been concerned that there hasn’t been enough work done to explain the science at community grassroots level. Its not enough to have the ear of policy makers – look at what that has resulted in with the CPRS in Australia. And don’t get me wrong, blogs like this and RC are invaluable (shown by the incandescent response by some of the writers of orders to the denialiti foot soldiers) but the readers of blogs like this are self selective and I woudl say that is a limitation.

    What we gotta do is take a leaf out of Bob Carter’s book (yeah, don’t laugh) and copy his energetic and constant camapigning in small towns across Australia addressing meetings and community groups all the time.

    Either the CEI move and the CRU hack will peter out and even backfire or it will form a pincer movement with the likes of Bob carter’s community campaigning and set back science and rational thought till things get dangerous.

  10. #10 el gordo
    November 25, 2009

    Jeremy

    I agree ‘there hasn’t been enough work done to explain the science at community grassroots level.’

    If the politicians were brought up to speed on climate science we could all rest easy, but this latest utube ditty may give us an early glimpse of how the battle will rage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEiLgbBGKVk&feature=player_embedded

  11. #11 ham
    November 25, 2009

    Don’t forget the useful idiots!

    Look at me!

    This youtube stuff erases your evidence.

  12. #12 Jeremy C
    November 25, 2009

    Just a thought.

    When marc Morano was working for Inhofe i.e. on the public payroll, was his advocay work allowable as he was being paid for by Inhofe so he did as inhofe directed and was this allowable under US government employee rules or not?

    Is it a parrallel to what the CEI is accusing gavin Schmidt of?

  13. #13 Deech56
    November 25, 2009

    I have a comment in moderation at RC. Basically, I write that a 40-hour work week for someone a productive as Gavin is a wistful dream. Besides his work at RC, this year he’s published 15 papers and a book and has one more paper in press. Hopefully, things will die down a bit so Gavin can take a break from his rope-a-dope (apologies: venting a bit).

  14. #14 Ben
    November 25, 2009

    Nothing less than bald-faced harassment. Contemptible.

  15. #15 Chuck
    November 25, 2009

    Why do you say that CEI is planning to sue a natural person? Following the documents linked in your post, I see that CEI has told NASA that it intends to go to court to force NASA to respond to CEI’s FOIA request. Quoting, “CEI sought the following documents, among others. NASA’s failure to provide them within thirty days will prompt CEI to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. . .”

    What else should someone do when an agency fails to respond to a FOIA request?

    The FOIA law in the United States is quite broad and has been around for more than forty years. It is not something new for the AGW issue. If there were no appeal to the courts, then agencies could simply ignore FOIA requests—the law would be meaningless. The basic point of the law is to force agencies to release information that they would otherwise keep confidential.

    For a description of NASA’s FOIA procedures see: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA/agency/ The 13 NASA FOIA requester offices are listed at
    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA/requester-centers.pdf

  16. #16 Marco
    November 25, 2009

    Chuck: did they fail? Or *was the FOIA request denied*?

    BTW: here’s the Intent to Sue:
    http://pajamasmedia.com/files/2009/11/DOC112409-001.pdf
    Look carefully at what information they request.

    Now, I am not a lawyer, but where do the requests fit with what NASA describes as documents that fall under the FOIA?
    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/FOIA/records.html

    It’s plain and simple harassment.

  17. #17 GSJ
    November 25, 2009

    Obviously some very powerful interests (read Big Oil, Big Coal, the usuals) have declared war on climate science. I don’t know how well the community will respond to this.

  18. #18 sod
    November 25, 2009

    it si just an attempt to silence scientists.

    When marc Morano was working for Inhofe i.e. on the public payroll, was his advocay work allowable as he was being paid for by Inhofe so he did as inhofe directed and was this allowable under US government employee rules or not? Is it a parrallel to what the CEI is accusing gavin Schmidt of?

    you are making a significant error here. you assume that both sides should follow similar rules. normal logic can not be used, to analyse denialist activities.

    you need “special” logic.

    a good example, are all their attempts to call scientists stupid, because they don t use private e-mails for their discussions. like Palin did, doing government things on yahoo, to avoid leaving a track….

  19. #19 BTW
    November 25, 2009

    Someone should file a FOIA request for Imhofe’s emails on the basis of “inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee”.

  20. #20 Chuck
    November 25, 2009

    Re 16.

    NASA says that FOIA applies to
    “(1) In addition to the records made available or published under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, NASA shall, upon request for other records made in accordance with this part, make such records promptly available to any person, unless they are exempt from disclosure under Subpart 3 of this part, or unless they may be purchased from other readily available sources, as provided in Sec. 1206.201.”

    The relevant language of the statute is broad “except with respect to the records made available under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, each agency, upon request for records which (A) (i) reasonably describes such records and (B) (ii) is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any), and procedures to be followed, shall make the records promptly available to any person.”

    There are a variety of exemptions for material submitted in confidence, personnel matters, adjudicatory matters, negotiation planning, etc. But, the basic rule is disclose. Generally speaking, the government is not supposed to be able to cover up what it is doing.

    Re 19. I don’t think FOIA applies to Congress.

    Chuck

  21. #21 bi -- IJI
    November 25, 2009

    Chuck:

    The CEI is asking NASA to disclose ‘government information’ about Gavin Schmidt’s private blog. It’s like, I don’t know, asking a police department to disclose details about the origin of one of their police officer’s cats and dogs.

    The correct response to this sort of nonsensical request is a big, fat “LOLWUT?!?!?!?!?

  22. #22 Mystyk
    November 25, 2009

    I say let them file suit, then file a counter-suit on the basis of both harassment and the use of false claims (like the “discredited” hockey stick) to establish imaginary damages, while filing for a dismissal of the original CEI suit for lack of standing.

    Then go one step further and file for sanctions against both CEI and the attorneys that represent them for filing frivolous cases with the court. Make them really think twice, and establish a court precedent that will prevent deniers from gloating about who sued who.

  23. #23 trollhattan
    November 25, 2009

    Regrettably, it seems sometimes the less logic and merit a legal action has the more legs it develops. A recent example: Orly Taitz.

    (For anyone lucky enough to not know who that is, she’s the lawyer/dentist/real estate agent—and isn’t that a popular combination—who took on the role as prime spokesmouth/suit filer in the Obama birth certificate kerfuffle.)

    Such crap as what the CEI is peddling here could have a long and annoying life, completely apart from whether there is any merit.

  24. #24 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    Well here’s a comment you can, er, “moderate” but I promise not to sue. Actually the comments are from some poor sucker of a programmer who seems to be speaking from his heart:


    FOIA\documents\HARRY_READ_ME.txtgetting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. so many new stations have been
    introduced, so many false references.. so many changes that aren’t documented. Every time a
    cloud forms I’m presented with a bewildering selection of similar-sounding sites, some with
    references, some with WMO codes, and some with both. And if I look up the station metadata with
    one of the local references, chances are the WMO code will be wrong (another station will have
    it) and the lat/lon will be wrong too.
    FOIA\documents\HARRY_READ_ME.txtI am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as
    Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO
    and one with, usually overlapping and with the same station name and very similar coordinates. I
    know it could be old and new stations, but why such large overlaps if that’s the case? Aarrggghhh!
    There truly is no end in sight.
    FOIA\documents\HARRY_READ_ME.txt28. With huge reluctance, I have dived into ‘anomdtb’ – and already I have
    that familiar Twilight Zone sensation.”

    Oh dear, poor chap!

  25. #25 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    There are a variety of exemptions for material submitted in confidence, personnel matters, adjudicatory matters, negotiation planning, etc. But, the basic rule is disclose. Generally speaking, the government is not supposed to be able to cover up what it is doing.

    Personnel matters … you mean like how NASA allocates Gavin Schmidt’s time at work, which is one of the FOIA requests?

    Regrettably, it seems sometimes the less logic and merit a legal action has the more legs it develops. A recent example: Orly Taitz.

    She’s been tossed out on her ear multiple times, most recently being dinged a significant sum ($20K?) for wasting the court’s time after multiple warnings.

  26. #26 Bud
    November 25, 2009

    Apologies for this but I need to indulge in an idle threat. It’s a sanity device…

    Oh for crying out fucking loud, if I see one more fucking person on this website or RC or the Guardian or anywhere else throwing out that shitty “you’ll censor this but…” line, or variations thereof, followed by a post containing absolutely fuck all – and really stupid, pointless fuck all at that – I am going to track them down, drag them out onto the street by their ear and make them spout their paranoid bullshit at the top of their fucking voices on the nearest high street so they can fucking HEAR THEMSELVES FOR ONCE!

    Godsakes, grow the fuck up!

    Sorry. Tim’ll probably delete this post anyway. ;)

  27. #27 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    Or there’s this cry of despair:

    “OH FUCK THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform
    data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.” [Emphasis added]

    Honestly, working at the HC CRU almost amounts to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’!

  28. #28 emerson cardoso
    November 25, 2009

    RealClimate is used byt he same scientists to push their ideas through. Check the emails yourself:

    To show the credibility of the realclimate blog, and how it is manipulated by
    those same scientists involved in this scandal, read this piece below, one of
    the emails sent by Michael Mann, regarding the article of BBC’s Paul Hudson
    questioning the GW on the face of the current cooling trends:

    Michael Mann wrote:
    Subject: BBC U-turn on climate
    extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its
    particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he
    does a great job). from what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person
    at the Met Office.

    We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be
    appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard
    Black what’s up here?

    Source:
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1048&filename=1255352257.txt
    They are discussing about this article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8299079.stm

  29. #29 trollhattan
    November 25, 2009

    >She’s been tossed out on her ear multiple times, most recently being dinged a significant sum ($20K?) for wasting the court’s time after multiple warnings.”

    Indeed they did, but has it made her go away?

    [Orly’s house o’ pain](http://www.orlytaitzesq.com/)

    So long as we have Fox News we’ll have Orly in our faces. It’s assymetrical warfare, in the fashion of the Taliban. Fanaticism+mass media versus people trying to do their jobs isn’t terribly different from fanaticism+explosives versus a conventional military. The denialistas fully understand this, and it’s buying years, decades even for their paymasters.

  30. #30 ali baba
    November 25, 2009

    emerson cardoso — so?

  31. #31 ali baba
    November 25, 2009

    Honestly, working at the HC CRU almost amounts to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’!

    Science isn’t a sinecure. Not everyone’s employed to cast incoherent aspersions on the internet.

  32. #32 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    So long as we have Fox News we’ll have Orly in our faces. It’s assymetrical warfare, in the fashion of the Taliban. Fanaticism+mass media versus people trying to do their jobs isn’t terribly different from fanaticism+explosives versus a conventional military. The denialistas fully understand this, and it’s buying years, decades even for their paymasters.

    I think the problem is that they’re not nearly as stupid as Orly. They won’t get fined $20K for ignoring a pissed-off judge.

    They’ve managed to delay any action for the first 20 years after Hansen’s 1989 testimony to Congress.

    My guess is they’ll succeed for a nother 20 years, at least.

  33. #33 MapleLeaf
    November 25, 2009

    WTF!? This is just bloody ludicrous. Can we please sue Anthony Watts for disseminating misinformation, lies and for willfully distorting scientists’ work? Monckton too?
    I agree that people in the USA should be demanding to see Inhofe’s and Marc Morano’s emails. In Canada we should be demanding to see Ross McKitrick’s emails and those of Steve McIntyre, and Tom Harris, and Douglas Leahey.
    Funny how incredulous those in denial are about alleged misconduct by scientists when they (those in denial) engage in it on a daily basis.

    PS: Bud #26. You probably just said what many would like to say. Enough is enough already. Question is, how does one effectively counter or shut down the denial machine? Playing by the rules and being nice does not work. But then do we really want to lower ourselves to their standard? I think they understand two words, “money” and the other important one “lawyer”. The only thing that will shut them up is jail time (Lord Black is pretty quiet nowadays), and I sincerely hope that is where some of these mean spirited and malicious characters in the denial camp will be headed, and soon.

  34. #34 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    “incoherent aspersions”

    Sorry, ‘Ali Baba’, please tell me what it is about the words “the hopeless state of our databases” and “There is no uniform data integrity” that you do not understand.

    Also, he or she was not ‘casting anything on the internet’, it was a direct quote from this internal coding document by the programmer concerned:

    FOIA\documents\HARRY_READ_ME.txt

  35. #35 Marco
    November 25, 2009

    @David Duff,
    Gee, a database-guy complaining about the database made by another database-guy. That sure must be a first…right?

    Interestingly, HADCRU gives essentially the same result as GISTEMP (especially when you take the different procedures into account). Please explain.

  36. #36 ali baba
    November 25, 2009

    I understand the words very well, I’ve said the same sort of things about legacy code and data in my own work — so what?

    You have a half-formed premise, and in your mind exists a half-baked conclusion, but you’re missing all logical steps that go in between. AFAICT, this harryreadme.txt is also evidence the cubans shot JFK, as if further evidence were needed.

  37. #37 MapleLeaf
    November 25, 2009

    Re #34, Talk to anyone who manages huge and complex/diverse international databases. They all have issues, and require much work to keep going. Also where is the context? Had they recently integrated two or more data bases, or changed systems?

    I see a dilligent, hard working (yet clearly frustrated) person trying to solve problems. You see, what the end of the theory of AGW? The denial machine is stuck in spin and distort mode.

    And besides, what has this got to do with CEI suing Schmidt? Right, nothing! Keep trolling David Duff et al.

  38. #38 Majorajam
    November 25, 2009

    Sorry ‘David Duff’, please tell me what it is about Hadcrut’s general agreement with the GISS surface temperature record, the satellite data, the warming oceans, the warming troposphere, the cooling stratosphere, the biosphere response, the retreating ice sheets and glaciers, the retreating summer sea ice in the aric, etc. etc. that you don’t understand?

    With all due respect ali baba, half baked isn’t the half of it.

  39. #39 Chuck
    November 25, 2009

    Re 21. If NASA does not have any records matching those described in the request, they can just say so and they have responded.

    Re 22. Personnel matters are things like job reviews, disciplinary matters, etc. I don’t think they include job assignments or job descriptions if those are in written form.

    You can look up the history of the US FOIA. Lots of documents have been released under it. I understand that some officials find it a pain. But, when an agency fails to respond, it is probably breaking (or at least bending) the law. That is why the statute allows a requester to go to court.

    And, of course, one always wonders why an agency fails to release materials—the natural inference is that there is something embarrassing in the materials.

    Chuck

  40. #40 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    All I can say ‘Majorajam’ (not your real name, I assume, hence the inverted commas) is that if all those other, er, distinguished organisations agree with the data provided by Hadley which one of their own programmers (“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings“)describes as being hopeless and lacking any uniform integrity then I can only shudder and mutter “What more could fright my faith“, er, well, not my faith, really, but yours.

    Still, I see someone has written the dreaded ‘t’-word so I will depart not wishing to intrude on private grief.

  41. #41 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    I don’t think they include job assignments or job descriptions if those are in written form.

    Fine, but my reading suggests that unless the public interest in disclosure outweighs the agency’s interest in protecting privacy, such requests will be denied.

    The counter-example to that I’ve found involved officials actually discharged for bribery, with a FOIA request being granted to look into their performance records prior to that. In this case the public interest was ruled to outweigh privacy concerns. Thus far, though, Gavin’s not been discharged for bribery …

  42. #42 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    Oh, Lord, a programmer struggled with understanding some poorly documented and messy code, and and …

    All of climate science is a fraud!

    Do you people have *any* idea as to how stupid you sound?

  43. #43 sod
    November 25, 2009

    Oh, Lord, a programmer struggled with understanding some poorly documented and messy code, and and …

    i was just about the write the same. we should not use any stuff, that is based on code that has ever been criticised by a programmer ever before.

    it would be a very special day. beyond an antique bicycle, not a single wheel would turn.

  44. #44 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    I was not intending to return but lo and behold it’s my old friend, ‘Dhogaza’, the well known spelling mistake! No, no, ‘Dhogie’, we’re not saying that all climate science is a fraud just all the climate so-called science that emanated from Hadley.

    (By the way old chap, there’s a just a titchy bit of egg on your face, hope you don’t mind me pointing it out, it’s so embarrassing that sort of thing, bit like walking round with your flies undone.)

  45. #45 GWB's nemesis
    November 25, 2009

    Can I just point out that it could also be that “Harry” was wrong – i.e. that he couldn’t work out the code and the database because he lacked the skills to so do.

    The fact that his comments fit the alarmist preconception does not mean that they are right (although I bet the alarmists will struggle to understand this).

  46. #46 MapleLeaf
    November 25, 2009

    Duff, please try and be mature, as difficult as it clearly is for you. This pattern of posting by you is typical of those in denial, people counter your distortion with facts and science, and unable to respond likewise you resort to juvenile quips and invective. Now please go and troll your distortion somewhere else, and stop trying to bait people with inflammatory comments.

  47. #47 Douglas Watts
    November 25, 2009

    “[CEI seeks documents] relating to the content, importance, or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate.”

    This is not a valid FOIA request since it solely pertains to his private life. This is as ludicrous as asking for copies of emails an employee sends to their spouse from work.

  48. #48 Marco
    November 25, 2009

    It’s getting more hysterical by the minute. John Coleman, who started the Weather Channel, wants to sue Al Gore for spreading misinformation. Of course, a reference to the heavily flawed OISM petition isn’t too far away either (no, I’m not going to link to the video).

    Just so our ‘skeptics’ know, Coleman also has claimed Roger Revelle came up with the ‘global warming scare’ to get more funding for Scripps. Talking about a conspiracy…

  49. #49 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    I was not intending to return but lo and behold it’s my old friend, ‘Dhogaza’, the well known spelling mistake!

    A dho gaza is a kind of baited net setup used by field biologists to trap raptors for banding or satellite telemetry.

  50. #50 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    Duffy’s blog is a hoot, BTW. Real drooling-from-the-foaming-mouth stuff.

  51. #51 Majorajam
    November 25, 2009

    You guys missed it. ‘Double Deuce’ thinks glaciers are retreating, ice shelves are collapsing, ice sheets are thinning, animals are migrating toward high latitudes, flowers are appearing and opening earlier, etc. because of one programmer’s technical difficulties. The Double D has a mind like a steel trap.

  52. #52 Douglas Watts
    November 25, 2009

    The Hatch Act forbids government employees from working on behalf of a political candidate’s election while they are at work. RealClimate does not do any advocacy for the election of a political candidate, nor does it even advocate for the passage of specific federal legislation. The only issue at hand is whatever NASA’s policy is toward staff using a government computer for personal, non-job related matters. CEI could google NASA’s official policy on this in about 10 seconds or just call them up. What a bunch of maroons.

  53. #53 Leah
    November 25, 2009

    I’m a regular reader of both Deltoid and Real Climate, although I’ve never before left a comment, being a complete layman, but I want to take this opportunity to think Tim and Gavin and all of you scientists who take the time and energy to comment here, and there.

    I can’t tell you how helpful it is to someone like myself, who cares about what happens to this planet of ours, to be able to understand the various eruptions of denialist propaganda, so that one can have some hope of debunking the distortions and outright lies that often catch on, even among friends of mine who I would have thought would know better. And even when one knows enough not to trust a source like Senator Inhofe or Michele Malkin, it’s enormously comforting to know the precise way in which they are full of it.

    My primary reason for commenting, however, was to advise all of you in this community of climate scientists that I just saw a brief report on MSNBC, for the non-Americans among you, the cable news channel of NBC, on the stolen emails. It was about as bad as you or I might have imagined it could be; they used the title “Climategate,” gave a sample of precisely two single sentences from the emails, and responded as if the perfidy of the scientists who wrote them was self-evident. Phil Jones was mentioned by name. There was no input from anyone who had the faintest relationship to any form of science. They had a special correspondent from London who was clearly just that, a news woman, though hardly a journalist.

    The stateside reporter did mention that some of the scientists had said they material was taken out of context, but he then opined that when you read the emails it doesn’t seem so.

    Someone should contact MSNBC and insist that they have Gavin or someone on who knows what they are talking about.

    In the meantime, I and some of my friends will try and get their attention by explaining that if their reporters had even bothered to talk directly to a single climate scientist, someone like Gavin, for instance, they might have had some hope of offering a report that wasn’t an insult to their audience, so some such thing.

    I’m also contacting my congressman, Henry Waxman, to make sure he’s aware of the whole controversy, and to ask him, in the case that Inhofe does start angling for a hearing on the emails, that the Democrats will take control of the process so that the the actual scientists have every opportunity to illuminate how little the deniers know of the actual science. Frankly, I think in any kind of actual public hearing, the deniers would be decimated, in the same way that the Intelligent Design forces were decimated when their ideas were aired in a courtroom.

    Again, my thanks for the time all of you take to communicate with a lay audience.

  54. #54 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    Duff, please try and be mature

    Do you mind! I’m 70 bloody years old, if I get any more mature I’ll be as ripe as a decent cheddar!

    Listen, ‘Dhogie’, I am really grateful to you. I am always fascinated by new words and ‘dho gaza’ is absolutely brand new to me – is it Arab originally?. Another example, I suppose, that you never stop learning even at 70. Here in the SW of England we have a plethora of buzzards and they are an absolute joy to watch. I often wonder why they tend to set up in ‘menages-a-trois’! I have just enjoyed looking through some of the sites that come up on Google when you search for ‘dho gaza’. Such beautiful birds. I’m not wishing to be nosey but is that your trade or hobby? If so you’re a lucky man. We’ll never agree on global warming but perhaps we can agree that there are few sights in nature as beautiful as a raptor.

  55. #55 dhogaza
    November 25, 2009

    I am always fascinated by new words and ‘dho gaza’ is absolutely brand new to me – is it Arab originally?

    Yes, this particular type of net trap has been used by arab falconers for eons, probably goes back as far in history as falconry itself does. I like it because it’s a very safe trap for the caught raptor, as well as the lure bird we use to attract them (as we place the trap in front of the lure).

    I’m not wishing to be nosey but is that your trade or hobby?

    Somewhere in between – the field work I’ve done over the last 20 years has been on a volunteer basis, but for professional agencies (USF&W, BLM, USFS) and an NGO that oversees the banding/telemetry/monitoring work. I’ve turned down offers of payment because, as a software engineer, I really don’t need it and have preferred the money being spent on the recent college grads we recruit and train.

    And, yes, raptors are beautiful.

    We’ll never agree on global warming…

    Well, one can’t really work in the field and not notice how things are changing, and the physics is well-established and irrefutable.

  56. #56 George Darroch
    November 25, 2009

    Yet another salvo in the war on science.

    It’s time to fight back far more aggressively.

  57. #57 MapleLeaf
    November 25, 2009

    Duffy, well then show some maturity and class that one would expect of someone of your age to have. And again, if you do not have anything relevant and constructive to say, please move on.

  58. #58 David Duff
    November 25, 2009

    ‘Mapleleaf’, what a shriveled specimen you are! I assume you are young and it is a constant amazement to me that the young are so solemn, so fearful, so naive in the way they swallow hook, line and sinkers particularly when it comes to end-of-the-world stories. Honestly, youth is wasted on the young! Still, I suppose when you have lived through several versions of ‘the end is nigh’ you begin to recognise the signs. Never mind, you can take comfort in these words which describe me exactly and in the meantime be assured that when you are my age you will feel as much of a prat as I do about the nonsense I spouted in my youth:

    The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose well sav’d a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again towards childish treble, pipes,
    And whistles in his sound
    .”

    ‘Dhogie’, I don’t envy many men but you, sir, are a very lucky fellow.

  59. #59 MapleLeaf
    November 25, 2009

    Duffy you erred when you sated “feel as much of a prat as I do about the nonsense I spouted in my youth:”

    To be correct you should have stated that “and the nonsense that I continue to spout in my old age”. It seems old habits die hard for you. So keep on spouting nonsense, it does nothing for your credibility and does nothing to earn you any respect.

    And do not be presumptuous, you have no idea how young or how old I am. Now for the love of God please stop trolling. You clearly having nothing of substance to contribute to this discussion so are forced to resort to making ludicrous and unsubstantiated statements. Good night.

    PS: Where exactly in the journal papers do they proclaim the ‘end is nigh’?! You also appear to have no idea as to exactly what went down with the global cooling myth back in the 70’s– is that one of the earlier doomsday scenarios/myths that you are pontificating about? A paper was recently published in BAMS on that debunking that myth.

  60. #60 Dano
    November 25, 2009

    Leah, all to common in our corporate-owned media.

    Best,

    D

  61. #61 Arie Brand
    November 25, 2009

    There have been some excellent video series on YouTube trying to explain climate change, but with this CRU Hack the denialists, with the obnoxious Tim Ball in the vanguard, have had the field thus far.

    Duff, I am older than you and have had no trouble at all to believe in climate change. What I would have trouble believing in is a world wide cabal by climate scientists. Your age apparently hasn’t helped you to see the nonsense of THAT.

  62. #62 P. Lewis
    November 25, 2009

    The Double D has a mind like a steel trap.

    Wow! That’s two massive boobs!

  63. #63 Donald Oats
    November 25, 2009

    Re: David Duff:

    Streuth, maybe an Australian could have shed light on it, for the price of a phone call? Perhaps our intreprid CRU programmer did in fact figure it out, but wasn’t too bothered to mention that in their “accidentally released” text file?

  64. #64 Arie Brand
    November 25, 2009

    DD, re that alleged ice age forecast see also:

    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/

  65. #65 Janet Akerman
    November 25, 2009

    Duff [says](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/competitive_enterprise_institu.php#comment-2101629):
    >Sorry, ‘Ali Baba’, please tell me what it is about the words “the hopeless state of our databases” and “There is no uniform data integrity” that you do not understand.

    Duff acts like this comment is some obvious proof that discredits AGW.

    Sounds to me like someone having whinge about the database being cumbersome and making ones job harder than it need be.

    What do you think Duff?

    Given them some more funds? Stop swamping them with vexatious FOI harassment?

  66. #66 D. C. Sessions
    November 25, 2009

    Do you mind! I’m 70 bloody years old, if I get any more mature I’ll be as ripe as a decent cheddar!

    Growing old may be mandatory, but growing up is optional.

  67. #67 Janet Akerman
    November 25, 2009

    I’m mid way through Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge,

    Now it strikes me how there are poetic similarities between a Dickens tale and the current distortions being pushed by those exploiting the emails fiasco.

    In a melodramatic Dickensian narrative, the self serving rich manipulate the lives of their play things; mid-way through the evil father has gained the upper hand and contrived a cleft between young Ed and his love. A cleft so deep and seemingly permanent, how will justice ever prevail?

    Time is running thin, the consequences are great…

    So what ending will boys and girls read? In this dark hour, who will write the ending?

    Keep in mind that many of the cretins posting around the net are paid astro turfers? And how many show themselves as political ideologues, and many seem exploited followers – captured by a counter narrative.

    What will it take to make the shift we need? What do the enemies of science most fear? What has turned the tide in the past?

    Who is on the streets and who is not. Who is comfortably carrying on in a stupor?

    What scale of a rally or length of sustained action is required? Who is preparing for this? Is someone else going to organise it for us?

    Who would we contact to begin to self organise? What is the next step we would take if we were going to make it happen?

  68. #68 John M
    November 25, 2009

    Leah’s comments inspired me to share an anecdote about Gavin. In the early days of Real Climate I emailed a series of questions to the site. I was extremely impressed that a scientist of Gavin’s stature took the time to respond to me in several emails. The man is a class act and an outstanding scientist. Gavin and James Hansen are on my very short list of heroes.

    It’s Thanksgiving here in the States and I’m also thankful for Tim Lambert, a bulldog after the lies of those at war with science.

  69. #69 Gaz
    November 25, 2009

    No, no, ‘Dhogie’, we’re not saying that all climate science is a fraud just all the climate so-called science that emanated from Hadley.

    Hadley?

    You’re accusing these people of scientific fraud but you can’t even name the institution that employs them.

    How utterly pathetic.

  70. #70 Tyler DiPietro
    November 25, 2009

    Oh yeah, Eric Raymond seems to think plotting the coefficients makes his case for him when he has no idea what variables the coefficients are being applied to. And he scales the graph to a vertical range of 3 to make the rise seem more pronounced. Typical.

    Once again, if this is the best the denialists have, their case is weak indeed.

  71. #71 Steve
    November 25, 2009
  72. #72 Eamon
    November 25, 2009

    Steve@71

    Surely he’s telling a lie as the released emails run up until Novermer the 12th – for him to have got them a month before they were released he’d have to be getting some of them from the future!

  73. #73 Steve
    November 25, 2009

    Eamon@72 it looks like he was taken out of context, and I just linked the story, perpetuating the myth. Sorry bout that.

  74. #74 Marion Delgado
    November 26, 2009

    Theyre probably filing in or for a state with no SLAPP laws at all.

  75. #75 ChrisE
    November 26, 2009

    That Eric S Raymond is crazy isn’t news. He is Libertarian, strictly pro-gun and was pro-Iraq war.

    If that doesn’t convince you, read that: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1465
    Sounds like one of the trolls here.

  76. #76 dhogaza
    November 26, 2009

    That Eric S Raymond is crazy isn’t news. He is Libertarian, strictly pro-gun and was pro-Iraq war.

    He’s totally batshit crazy and totally unrepresentative of your typical open source software project honcho (I’m one of those myself, actually).

  77. #77 Mark Byrne
    November 26, 2009

    David Duff writes:

    >*No, no, ‘Dhogie’, we’re not saying that all climate science is a fraud just all the climate so-called science that emanated from Hadley.*

    To be clear David Duff, you are saying that all the climate science out of CRU (I assume you meant CRU not Hadley) is fraud? Is that what you are saying?

    Perhaps a bit of evidence would be in order to justify such a claim, if that is indeed what you claim?

    You could start by providing one single published work containing fraud from CRU? Does that sound reasonable?
    Now that you’ve got all their emails, it should be a sinch to now locate their published fruad.

  78. #78 Raging Bee
    November 26, 2009

    Here’s some comments I made elsewhere, which I thought might be relevant here…

    If the AGW hypothesis is a hoax, or in any way flawed, then no one should have to hack any emails to prove it. The denialists could do their own research, gether their own data, and write up their own hypotheses, using all the data available to them, without having to break any laws.

    The fact that they’re now resorting to THEFT, and pretending it proves anything significant, pretty much proves they have no case. Their shrillness escalates as their credibility declines.

    …and…

    “When scientists wander outside the legal and ethical bounds,” as various halfwitted trolls so vaguely allege, then the evidence of such misconduct should be taken to law-enforcement or an ethics board, not to the media or the blogsphere. Have you taken your evidence to law-enforcement, trolls? If so, what was their response? If not, WHY NOT?

    …and finally…

    [Dumbass troll]: the people who STOLE those emails and passed them on to others who were not entitled to them, are people of exceedingly poor character. They are, in fact, criminals. And when you trumpet this information, you reveal yourself to be a “man” of similarly poor character yourself. So get used to the character attacks: they’re relevant, they’re based on undisputed fact, and they’re not going to stop. If you don’t like it, take a good look in a mirror and CHANGE YOUR CHARACTER — we won’t try to stop you.

    Just sayin’…

  79. #79 Eamon
    November 26, 2009

    Steve@73

    No probs.

  80. #80 caerbannog
    November 26, 2009


    The denialists could do their own research, gether their own data…

    Given the wealth of the freely-available data, they don’t even have to do that. They can simply use the tons of data that *others* have already gathered and made freely available on the web.

    The GISS temperature record (a favorite tinfoil-hatter target) is computed from freely-available data with well-documented algorithms.

    If the tinfoil-hatters** feel that GISS is wrong, then they can download the same freely available raw data that GISS uses and compute their own global temperature estimates. They could slice and dice station data to their hearts’ content, and if there were any real problems with the data, the problems would show up in the form of wildly varying warming estimates depending on the station subset chosen.

    But you can be almost certain that no such problems exist — if they *did* exist, they would have been uncovered long ago.

    In terms of capital expenditures, this would require no more than a laptop and a couple of bucks to buy a cup of coffee (to get that free wireless Internet connection). All the data *and software* needed check NASA/GISS’ work can easily be obtained for free.

    **In response to deniers trying to play the “Nazi” card, I now use the term “tinfoil-hatter”. I think that it’s a better description of today’s AGW skeptic dhan “denier” is.

  81. #81 D. C. Sessions
    November 26, 2009

    The denialists could do their own research, gether their own data…


    Given the wealth of the freely-available data, they don’t even have to do that. They can simply use the tons of data that others have already gathered and made freely available on the web.

    Ah, but you see The Conspiracy has altered all of that data — and the hacked e-mails are the proof!

  82. #82 Carl C
    November 26, 2009

    err, the weirdness to me is that surely the CEI should uphold the private property rights of Gavin & rc.org — I mean they have every right to let whatever posts they want through! That’s what the CEI & right-winger types always say when it’s anti-war protests they’re stopping, i.e. shoving people in “free speech zones” at Republican conventions etc. They only want “free speech” on their terms?

  83. #83 Kristjan Wager
    November 26, 2009

    Honestly, working at the HC CRU almost amounts to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’!

    I work with legacy code for a living – meaning that I, and my colleagues, generally take over systems which are already running, and work to fix errors in them and add more functionality. These systems are public systems or systems in the finance sector.

    Trust me, I have uttered much worse things than the things quoted from the stolen file. In fact, I have occasionally expressed the intention to hunt down the original coder, and ensure that said coder would never code again. This doesn’t mean that these systems don’t run, or don’t work as expected. It just means that people have cut corners where they could, probably due to strict deadlines, making life much harder for the people who have to work with the code later.

    As bad as that code is, it’s nothing compared to the implementations I’ve seen of computer science research. Those implementations are just meant to demonstrate the concept, and not necessarily be perfectly implemented. This can be frustrating, but if you know what you’re doing it’s possible to correct the errors.

    I would guess that in the case of the CRU code, the situation is closer to the legacy systems than to the proof-of-concept code.

  84. #84 Vince Whirlwind
    November 26, 2009

    The CRU will be trying to integrate data created in every possible type of database software ever available from universities and research organisations from around the globe.
    The data will have been originally generated from a myriad different types of analog hardware, each with their own specific margin of error, then digitised by a huge range of different bits of kit, each again with their own error range.
    Oh, and plenty of this data and its software containers would have been written originally in Chinese, Russian, etc.. each of which uses its very own special kind of logic.

    It would be astounding if they *didn’t* have enormous trouble trying to standardise it all!!!

    (As for having controversialist amateurs like McIntyre peering over your shoulder looking for any excuse to misinterpret what you’re doing in order to slander you in his next press release – no wonder they don’t want to co-operate with him).

  85. #85 Kaká
    November 27, 2009

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  86. #86 GaryB
    November 27, 2009

    I’m surprised there are so many pulling significant points from Harry’s text. Any programmer tearing into old code on a regular basis should recognize the frustration of trying to recreate another’s logic in Harry’s words, especially when the documentation is poor and there is no information about the commented out code. Back in the good old days, it was common to just put fake data in to debug the thing and then comment it out before compilation. It was also common to either not document the code or to unintentionally make the documentation cryptic (just like variable names). I currently have trouble understanding a lot of my early C code.

    Do the people making a big deal of this not realize that the comments do not become part of the compiled and linked program?

  87. #87 D. C. Sessions
    November 27, 2009

    Do the people making a big deal of this not realize that the comments do not become part of the compiled and linked program?

    Pardon me, but that has nothing to do with it.

    The question isn’t whether the “people making a big deal of this” realize but what they expect the general public to make of it. Quote mine the comments and you get some great material that works fine for anyone who either
    * doesn’t know anything about software maintenance, or
    * doesn’t get the context, or
    * is already convinced and just looking for additional validation

    Any of the above will do.

  88. #88 The Raven
    November 28, 2009

    It also will cost someone money to defend. And there’s always the chance that Schmidt will lose. Lawyers tell me: avoid trial if you can. Because trial is incalculable; you never know what will happen. You can have the best case in the world and still lose through bad luck.

  89. #89 dhogaza
    November 28, 2009

    It also will cost someone money to defend. And there’s always the chance that Schmidt will lose.

    NASA, not Schmidt, is being sued. Individuals are not subject to FOIA requests, only agencies.

  90. #90 Mark E. Gillar
    November 30, 2009

    Can anyone here explain exactly what Michael Mann meant when he said the following?

    “it would be nice to try to ‘contain’ the putative ‘MWP,’ even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back”

    As you know, I’m just a layperson, but it sounds like someone was expressing a desire to get rid of the medieval warm period. I can’t remember, did Mann’s hockey stick graph show a medieval warm period? I wonder if Chris Mooney will include this in his next War On Science Book? I look forward to hearing back from this group. You’re all so much smarter than me. I probably just misinterpreted Mann’s words.

  91. #91 Tim Lambert
    November 30, 2009

    Yes Mark, you have egregiously misinterpreted Mann’s words. In what dictionary does ‘contain’ mean ‘get rid of’? Mann is talking about finding boundaries for the MWP. When did it start? When did it end?

  92. #92 Phil.
    November 30, 2009

    Especially as the context of the remark refers to extending the time period back 2000 years rather than 1000 in order to contain the MWP.

  93. #93 Gaz
    November 30, 2009

    Mark, it’s a point that’s been made before but worth making again – why would anyone try to downplay the rise in temperature in the medieval warm period (MWP)?

    If the rise in temperature is bigger than previously thought, then that would imply the climate is more sensitive the previously thought to changes in external forcings, which would tend to support the case for expecting anthropogenic climate change to produce a bigger rise in temperatures than currently projected.

    Right?

Current ye@r *